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Browsing by Author "Ogbeide, Ilona"

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  • Ogbeide, Ilona (2015)
    Multiple changes have occurred in the landscape of the cities and brought new challenges to the use of land in the urban areas. Urban areas have become more compact, population has grown and whereas the amount of public spaces have decreased. Many public spaces have turned into quasi-public or even private spaces. Urban planners and decision-makers must take into account the needs of even more different actors than before. When the number of public spaces has decreased, some of the groups using it, have become more easily excluded from it. A battle of the right to be and use the public spaces are fought between different groups. Adolescents are one of these groups that often tend to be excluded, even though public spaces are significant for their free-time. They also lack places where to be or meet each other. In addition, knowledge about the meanings and qualities of the places where adolescents spend time is scarce. This master's thesis is a case study of Vuosaari suburb in the Eastern Helsinki. The aim is to explore the public and quasi-public spaces where the local adolescents spend their time. Furthermore, qualities and meanings as well as adolescents needs in those spaces are studied. The data used in this study was collected through interviews and place mapping. In place mapping adolescents could mark the places where they hang out on the map and describe them in written form. The study is based on the idea of subjective construction of space and place perception, which are also affected by cultural and environmental factors. Adolescent's perception of public and quasi-public spaces is explored through theory of affordances. Affordance implies to the possible threats and possibilities that one might find from the surrounding environment. The public and quasi-public spaces that are used by adolescents in Vuosaari are moreover classified into loose spaces, spaces of doing and tight spaces. Loose spaces are free from the adult control whereas in the tight spaces and spaces of doing adolescents are under adult surveillance. Tight spaces are aimed to certain kind of doing and it is not possible to differ from the activities designated beforehand. In the spaces of doing it is possible to perform different activities more freely. However, challenging the norms of those spaces leads to sanctions. The study found that adolescents use different kind of public and quasi-public spaces. How they use and value them is dependent on their needs and preferences. The findings suggest that socializing and activities play a major role for adolescents in the public and quasi-public spaces. Also accessibility and closeness of home are important factors for adolescents when choosing the hangout places. Ambiguity characterizes the spaces adolescents prefer. They are sometimes used to expose oneself in front of others, but on the other hand adolescents seek places where they can avoid adult control. Therefore, especially loose spaces, that offer possibility to avoid adult control, proved to be important for adolescents. Additionally, social and functional affordances were valued as well as spaces where those affordances could be found. Adolescents should not however be bundled into one category, since they have different needs in public and quasi-public spaces. Their needs are dependent on factors such as gender and personal preferences. Hence, urban planners and decision-makers ought to offer as diverse public and quasi-public spaces as possible. Furthermore, adolescent's use of public and quasi-public spaces should be accepted.